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Comments Off on What’s Old is New: The History of Meads

By Kate Hayes, Sr. Associate for Product Education

Mead is one of the oldest fermented beverages in the world. It has been a part of celebrations all over the world from Northern Europe to Italy, France, and Spain. How did this dynamic beverage fall out of favor with modern drinkers? What sparked its recent rise in popularity?

First things first: what is Mead? Mead is a beverage made with honey, water, hops or fruit. The fruit based versions tend to taste like wine and the hop based versions attract beer drinkers.

Sparkling Peach Mead_2

Historically, Mead, along with wine and beer, was a regional beverage. The honey, fruit, water, and hops used in the finished product were locally sourced.

There wasn’t mass transportation to ship raw materials between regions and refrigeration was centuries down the line. Mead was a distinct expression of a region’s fruit and honey, different in each place it was available.

As it became possible to source raw materials from a distance, Mead became incredibly homogenized. Large companies produced Mead with very little flavor or regional expression. Companies also started to use cheaper, industrialized ingredients. The quality of the finished product dropped as the quality of raw materials dropped.

As with many products over the past ten years, Mead has seen a boom of interest as locally made and sourced food gains recognition. Enthusiasts from all walks of life have a renewed love for this ancient beverage. Regional meaderies have popped up all over the United States with a commitment to quality ingredients and to showcase the local fruit and honey.

Prairie Berry Winery has been using South Dakota honey in our products for years and jumped at the opportunity that renewed interest has provided. Enjoy a glass of this historic beverage with a Prairie Berry twist!

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